The FARM Board of Directors, acting as the nominations committee, announces their preliminary slate of candidates for the 2018 election for the FARM Board of Directors and Bylaws Referendum.

There are three [3] open seats for this election. The top three [3] candidates in the vote count will serve three [3] year terms.
If you are a current FARM member, you have the right, per our bylaws, to make a nomination or self-nominate to be on the ballot for the upcoming election. If you are interested, please complete the nomination process by completing this online form by August 27th, 2018.

Ballots will be distributed by email from on September 27th, 2018 to all voting members of FARM. Only votes cast by 11:45 pm, October 18th, 2018 will be counted. Results of the election and referendum will be announced during the annual FARM membership meeting at the FARM Conference.

Stephanie Cofell

Candidate Bio

Folk Alliance International member, FARM member, Minnesota Music Coalition Member. Agent and Manager at Ginger Roots Agency; Exclusive representation for Dave Cofell and Pushing Chain; Past and present artists worked with include Andy Cohen, Sarah Morris, Season Ammons and The Wide Open. Organizes successful national and international touring. A vision for FARM moving forward is to focus on inclusion across not only gender balance and cultural diversity but also through career levels and range of ages. Additionally, fully supportive of fair compensation within the creative community while sustaining meaningful connections through contacts and business development throughout the region.

Ballot Statement

It is my vision that we continue to empower communities of creators and ensure your organization remains valuable to you all. Having served as a local Arts Board member and making a difference within the environment by furthering the great work of past board members as goals come to fruition.

Joanne Smiddie- Brush

Candidate Biography:

Joanne Smiddie-Brush is a presenter at several music venues in Indianapolis, IN. She is on the Board of Directors for the Indy Folk Series, where she serves as Treasurer, and also writes and produces a variety of publicity materials. She hosts the “Flying Cat” House Concert Series, and like most house concert hosts she does everything from selecting the performers and promoting the concerts to setting up the chairs. Joanne has been active with FARM since 2012, and has served as an Official Showcase judge, a mentor, and workshop presenter.

Ballot Statement:

I truly believe in the power of music to create community, foster connections among people, and maybe even make the world a better place. I bring that vision of community building, along with real-world experience, plus a strong commitment to make a positive contribute to the FARM family.

Craig Siemsen

Candidate Bio

A songwriter and guitarist, Craig always had music in his life. His parents used an overstuffed chair in the living room to stage family sings of American classics and folk songs. After college, Craig loaded his instruments and dog into the back of an old car and took off around the country playing music. A full-time musician, Craig currently performs 260 shows annually with his wife Patty Stevenson as Patty & Craig, his string band, and numerous solo shows.

Ballot Statement

I’ve always been drawn by the strong sense of community at FARM. I believe we are strongest when all participants are respected. I believe it is important for FARM to nurture new talent, develop knowledge and skills for success, and carry on the rich legacy we have inherited.

Randy Styka

Candidate Bio

Randy has been involved with Folk Music for a long time, volunteering at many venues including the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago all the time. He runs a concert series, Acoustic Renaissance Concerts, celebrating its 25th season. He’s a fan of a wide variety of music and enjoys helping out, attending well over 100 shows and festivals a year. He has also helped out at FARM and FAI for close to 15 years. His daughter, Heather, has been crazy enough to take on life as a full time touring musician.

Ballot Statement

FARM is an amazing organization and I’ve been honored to be on the board and able to help for a number of years. I see great things happening as we move back to the eastern side of our region and am anxious to continue to help grow and support FARM.

Bylaws Referendum

FARM Bylaws, Article II Section 4 (CURRENT)

Number and Term of Directors
The Board of Directors shall be comprised of no less than 5 members and no more than 9 members. The term of the directorship shall be 3 years with terms structured so that three directors are elected each year to provide for staggered terms. Directors may serve up to two consecutive terms and can be considered for re-election to the Board of Directors after they have stepped down for one full year. At the inception of these by-laws, three directors were elected for two-year terms and two for one-year terms. The initial slate of directors were nominated by the ad hoc by-laws committee and were deemed elected upon the ratification of the by-laws.

FARM Bylaws, Article II Section 4 (PROPOSED CHANGE)

Number and Term of Directors
The Board of Directors shall be comprised of no less than nine members and no more than eleven members. The voting membership shall elect up to nine Directors. The Directors may appoint up to two additional Directors to make the board more representative or diverse, or to meet other needs. The term of an elected directorship shall be 3 years with terms structured so that three directors are elected each year to provide for staggered terms. The terms of appointed Directors shall be established by the Directors at the time of appointment, but may not be longer than the terms of elected Directors (3 years) and their total time of service is subject to the same ‘term limits’. Directors may serve up to two consecutive terms (‘term limits’) and can be considered for re-election to the Board of Directors after they have stepped down for one full year.

Rationale for amendment
Currently, the Board is only required to have 5 Directors. The Board believes that increasing the minimum number of elected Directors to 9 will increase capacity and engagement.

Currently, the Board is restricted to having Directors elected. Having the option and ability to appoint an additional 2 directors will allow the Board to operate more nimbly and tactically in ensuring key skills and representation are present on the Board. This is a common option on most non-profit boards.

The original text includes content that was only relevant at the adoption of the original bylaws and consequently the text reading “At the inception of these by-laws… ” is no longer relevant and can be removed with no impact whatsoever on the function of the document.

Thank you!
The FARM Board of Directors

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